WASHINGTON — Maryland’s governor is asking for $82 million in spending cuts so the state can begin to close a budget gap that is expected to grow.
Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration says the cuts are necessary and that more will probably be needed, The Baltimore Sun reports, since tax revenue is down and a projected budget shortfall for the fiscal year that began July 1 is expected to be between $175 million and $225 million.
The $82 million in proposed cuts are expected to go before the Board of Public Works this week. The board is the highest administrative body in Maryland’s state government.
The three-member board includes Hogan, Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. The Baltimore Sun reports that Franchot has hinted that he will approve the cuts. The newspaper also says the Public Works Board is required by law to make midyear budget corrections to address lower revenue.
If approved, the cuts would affect colleges and universities, Medicaid and the Prince George’s County government, among other things. The biggest cut proposed would be $20 million for Medicaid, though the proposal would move money from Maryland’s Cigarette Restitution Fund to offset those cuts.
Prince George’s County would lose $3.5 million in grants, while the University System of Maryland would be hit with $18.3 million in cuts. The Sun reports the cuts would mean the elimination of 61 vacant positions for the university system and the elimination of 41 other positions, though the university system’s vice chancellor for administration and finance says the system can use new vacancies to avoid potential layoffs.
The Sun reports $4 million in state aid that would go to private and nonprofit colleges and universities would also be cut.